Activities in the Eastern Sierra

Mammoth With or Without Fresh Snow

I know that you love Mammoth, but you might think that without fresh snow there is no reason to visit. The Mountain continually makes snow, so the main runs and groomers are still AWESOME.  You may want to plan your day to visit the Mountain early as that is the when the snow conditions are BEST.

Top things to do when not downhill skiing or snowboarding:

  1. Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center  Not only can you skate or stride, but you can walk or snow shoe with your dog, or friends for free.  The views are amazing.  They have some amazing teachers that will hone your cross country skills. 760 934-2442.  You can also hike up and ski the back country from this access.  Reservations for the Lakefront Restaurant can also be made at 760 934-2442 or rent a cabin with a lake view.

  2. Ice Skating at the Town rink or Alkaline Ponds or Crowley  You can rent skates at Pedago.  You may want to call ahead to reserve your skates at 760 709-5809.  With the streets dry, you can rent a Pedago bike.  They are electric and make sightseeing around town lots of fun even if you aren’t used to the elevation.  My daughter has her own Pedego and she uses is for all her errands including picking up her son from school by having a bike trailer that she can pull her 3 and 6 year old in. They love it and their smiles fill the back of the trailer.  She needs a wider trailer so she can hold their smiles.

  3. Road Biking With these warmer temps and clear roads, you can ride for miles without signals and views that surpass your imagination.  If it gets a bit cooler, head down to Bishop or Round Valley.

  4. Mountain Biking Lots of trails besides just the amazing terrain available in the summers on Mammoth.  The Lower Rock Creek Trail has 15 miles of single track. Bald Mountain and Look-out Mountain and Big Springs have some awesome trails as well as Hot Creek, and of course Bishop.

  5. Fly Fishing at the Owens River off the Green church road or fishing the Bishop area, especially Pleasant Valley Dam which is open year round.

  6. Soak in the natural hot springs off the Green Church Road, or Keough Hot Springs outside of Bishop. Call the Visitors center at 760 934-2712 for directions.

  7. Hiking at Convict Lake, Sherwin Lakes, Mammoth Rock Trail, McGee Creek or further south.

  8. Climbing in the Gorge, Buttermilks, Happy Boulders

  9. Enjoy the Spa at Double Eagle in June Lake or Snowcreek.  Facials, massages, weights, classes for all types of exercising, indoor swimming, spin classes, etc.   Double Eagle also has cabins and a restaurant.  An amazing setting for weddings or parties. 760 648-7004 or Snowcreek at 760 934-8511.  Enjoy the Bistro at Snowcreek for happy hour and sushi after exercising or instead of exercising!

  10. Golf in Bishop, another one of my personal favorites.  When the days are getting longer and warmer, you should call ahead for a tee time.  Bishop Country Club 760 873-5828

  11. Tubing at Woolly’s Tube Park 800 Mammoth

  12. Motorcycle or off road vehicles.  Tons of dirt roads to explore the surrounding mountains

  13. Mammoth Rock N Bowl has a golf simulator, and restaurant.  Nothing more fun that walking around in bowling shoes and shirts!

  14. Whitmore Track is a great place to run, play soccer and football. Located south of Mammoth between the airport and Crowley, exit at the Green Church.


Mammoth's Summer Winds Down

Once the smoke from the fires subsided, the weather has been fantastic and the visitor numbers have been up.

Mammoth has become a popular training ground for high schools, colleges and professional runners.  The high school cross country teams have pretty much gone back to school, but the roads are filled with college runners. This is the first summer the Track at Whitmore has been open.  The grand opening was last November of this state of the art Track.   With all the running trails and now an actual track for speed work, the popularity of high altitude training in Mammoth will continue to increase.  I can’t believe that is has been 11 years since my son was running cross country.  When UCLA asked him his mile time, he didn’t have an answer!  With all the attention that Team USA and top runners like Deanna Kastor, Meb Kefleski, Ryan Hall and many others have brought to Mammoth, we are attracting lots of top running athletes for training.

John Teller and Madeline Riffel have been dry land training for the upcoming Skier Cross season.  John will be part of the 2014 Winter Olympic Skier Cross team; Madeline Riffel is still waiting to see if she will be invited to participate.

This summer we had lots of family visiting.  We actually took some time with them and experienced some of the great activities Mammoth has to offer.  A day trip to Yosemite, specifically Tuolumne, Bodie Ghost Town,  June Lake Beach, where you can rent paddle boards and kayaks from the Oh Ridge beach,  Grant Lake for water skiing and wake surfing,  Crowley Lake for wake surfing.   All these lakes of course, are known first and foremost for fishing.  Golfing at Sierra Star and Snowcreek, mountain biking, road biking, the summer activities are endless.  Last week Rayni posted some beautiful photos of her hike.  The back country is endless and the beauty is spectacular.Rock Creek Fall

Yesterday was the first day of school for Mammoth Elementary, Middle, and High School.  Many of the schools have started, but the summer weather and activities in Mammoth continue.  The month of October is one of my favorite times of the year because of the fall colors and hiking.

Hope that you can make it to Mammoth before the snow falls, because there is plenty to do in Mammoth’s other season.

Now is a great time to buy, the combination of low prices and interest rates is something to consider if you want to make Mammoth a part of your future.  Mammoth is a great place for families to spend time together.   Time is something that passes way too quickly and is our most precious commodity.
Please let me know if you would like more information on specific properties for sale in Mammoth or the surrounding areas.


Sixty Lake Basin Adventure

Beautiful Sixty Lake Basin beginning at Kearsarge Pass. This is a 30 mile out and back if you go to the end of the Sixty Lake Basin. Permits are required for overnight stays and are available at the Mammoth and Mt. Whitney Ranger Stations. Onion Valley (Kearsarge Pass trailhead) is located in the mountains above Independence.Kearsarge Pass

Travel down to the John Muir Trail towards Charlotte Lake with majestic views of Charlotte Dome. An excellent multi-pitch back country climb.

Charlotte Dome

Head up to Glen Pass for outstanding views to the Palisades and beyond...
Glen Pass

Hard to believe there's a good trail going up to Glen Pass from the Rae Lakes side...but there is. See the micro sticks on top of Glen Pass? Those are people.
Glen Pass from Rae Lakes side

The lovely Rae Lakes Basin and trail junction for Sixty Lake Basin.
Rae Lakes

At last...Sixty Lake Basin...
Sunrise at Sixty Lake Basin

Mt. Clarence King...another great backcountry climb and also located in the Sixty Lake Basin
Mt. Clarence King

and another peak...Fin Dome, separates Rae Lakes from Sixty Lake Basin
Fin Dome
Mt. Clarence King and a tarn in the morning.

Mt. Clarence King in the Morning

Sunrise in the Basin...time to head home.



Summer Activities at Pokonobe in Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes Unique Activities 
Pokonobe Lodge
With summer upon us, it is kind of fun to think about some of the options that you don’t always think about when it comes to creating special memories with your family and friends in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra.
Lake Mary Pokonobe Boat Docks
Wilderness Catering owners, Marci & Chuck Satterfield, cater dinners, weddings and music concerts at the Pokonobe Lodge, which is on Lake Mary.  For something a bit different with a beautiful view overlooking Lake Mary, an inside dining room and a sunny deck, consider catering your own party.  Marci provides delicious food and will work with you on your menu.  

I grew up camping at Lake Mary and have a special spot in my heart for it.  We actually held my Mom’s memorial at the Pokonobe Lodge 5 years ago.  Wilderness Catering, Marci and Chuck, did a terrific job of catering it for us.  If you have an event you would like to plan with a location that is unique, please give Marci a call at 760 934-6061 or send her an email at

Be sure to catch one of the LiPokonobe Deckve Dinner Concerts with Fiddlin’ Pete July 7, July 21 and August 11th. For reservations call Pete at 760 873-4616.  The String Theory will perform June 30, August 4th, August 18th and September 1st.  For reservations for this call Charles 760 258-6026.

In the winter, Wilderness Catering also hosts full moon dinners at the Pokonobe Lodge.  You can cross country ski, walk, or take their special Snowmobile rides.  These dinners will make an indelible mark in your memory!

Kittredge Sports provides all the fishing tackle, boats and paddle boards. So why not spend the whole day up at the Pokonobe Lodge, take advantage of the lake, fishing, pontoon boats, paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and even a small grocery store.  They have a daily fee to launch your own boat.  It is also a great spot to see the Eagles soar.

With the bike path from the Town that takes you all the way to Horseshoe Lake, the Lakes Basin is much more friendly and accessible without driving.  You can take the shuttle, load your bikes, ride around the Lakes basin and then ride your bikes back to town, so that you don’t get all worn out just getting up there.

Interest rates may be on the way up and prices seem to have bottomed out.  I would encourage you to get into the Mammoth real estate market so that you can start enjoying those special times with your family now.   Memories are priceless!

My favorite book, the Bible says:
Isaiah 41:30-31  “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The new Welcome sign as you arrive in Mammoth says “The Mountains are Calling” and as you depart, “Going to the Mountains is going home. ”   John Muir


Time for Fishing in Mammoth Lakes!

The TroutFitter

Many of the shops and stores in Mammoth Lakes switch from winter to summer, but the TroutFitter specializes in fishing all year long.  In Mammoth, it isn’t just the variety of scenery and sports that you can partake in.  It is getting to know the people that make Mammoth a welcoming place to spend your time.

With the opening of fishing season upon us, I thought you might be interested in some behind the scenes information on one of Mammoth’s premiere fishing stores.

The TroutFitter has been owned and operated by Kent & Jeri Rianda since the late 1990’s.  It is a family run business with Chad Brizendine, their son-in-law also managing during the busiest season which is late April to November 15th.  They offer a family environment and local expertise.  It is a destination shop and they keep 15 guides busy, 7 days a week.  They also bring in reps for special deals and extensive product knowledge. They also plan to include tie flying classes, which is truly an art.

As I was looking through the shop, I was amazed by all the fly’s and couldn’t help but take a photo of the “Terrestrials”.  They have a full line of fishing apparel including outer wear, shoes, boots, sunglasses, waders, rods, reels, fly fishing, spin fishing, you need it, they have it!

Flies!They guide from Bridgeport to Bishop, lakes and streams.  Pleasant Valley, Hot Creek, lower and upper gorge are open year round.  I have even seen them at Shady Rest, which is where they take beginners to teach them the technique of using a fly rod.  They make it look simple, but I am pretty sure it isn’t!


Summer time usually brings in more families looking for something to learn and do as a family.  You can put away all your technology tools (phones, IPADS, laptops) and really spend time getting to know not just the habits of the fish you are trying to outsmart; but those members of your family that are often too busy to have any type of a conversation, other than text messaging one another.Waders at the Trout Fitter

I was able to “hook up” with Cog MacNeil and ask a few questions about how he ended up as a guide.  He started fishing at the age of 8.  He worked in the banking and investment business and after doing that for many years, decided to follow his heart and probably help his heart with a different environment.  Cog is in his 5th year of guiding.  He specializes in fly fishing and enjoys the walk and wade style of fishing.  I asked him, what is your favorite spot? and he said, “Wherever my client wants to fish.   It is all about the experience.  The guides spend all day out in the field and share information and hot spots which are constantly changing.  It is just like any sport, you need the local expertise to fully enjoy the experience.”  When Cog visits another area for fishing, he always checks into the local shops and hires a guide so that he can learn and enjoy what that area has to offer.

Cog MacNeil and Pat Jaeger


Cog MacNeil and Pat Jaeger



To become a guide for The TroutFitter is a commitment to the sport.  The following is an excerpt from Kent Rianda, the owner and operator of The TroutFitter in Mammoth Lakes which tells what he looks for in a guide.

It is no easy task becoming a TroutFitter guide - the standard is high. After demonstrating they are already an “expert” fly fishermen and having graduated from the Clearwater Guide School, they must “pay their dues”. Paying their dues translates, first, working in the shop for a minimum of a full year and demonstrating that they have patience, empathy, and the ability to teach, traits that you are born with and cannot be taught.

Next, a formal training program for every apprentice, which is conducted by our master guides. Most of our master guides came from the original Eastside Guide Service, unquestionably the finest group of guides ever to fish the Eastern Sierra. The “secret” to why that group was so good was that as they accepted a new member into the group, the new person was expeditiously brought up to the group’s level of expertise by on-the-job (or in this case, on-the-water) training. Half of the original Eastside Guide Service guides are still with the shop and now comprise a good part of our master guides.

 I know you will enjoy the friendly, family atmosphere and advice when you stop in The TroutFitter, which is located in the Shell Mart Center at the corner of Highway 203 and Old Mammoth Road.  You can contact them at 760 924-3676 or better yet check out their website at and hire one of their knowledgeable, friendly guides.

You just might find me at Shady Rest on one of those beginner lessons!   One of my best memories about fishing is when my Dad, who is now 91, took our son Chad fishing on his 5th birthday and Chad caught 5 fish at Convict Lake.  Those are times money can’t buy.

We make a living by what we get,  We make a life by what we give